SAN FRANCISCO - January 29 - San Francisco -- Jewish Voice for Peace, the largest Jewish peace group of its kind in the United States, issued a strong call today for an end to the ongoing violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories. The group expressed it's sadness over the loss of innocent life yesterday in a Jerusalem suicide bombing attack as well as in an IDF invasion of a small neighborhood in the Gaza Strip.
At least ten people have died as a result of the suicide blast in Jerusalem. Of the eight that have already died in Gaza, three were civilians. In both cases, many others were injured, some critically. The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade has claimed responsibility for the attack in Jerusalem. They said it was in retaliation for the Gaza strike.
"There can be no justification for attacks on civilians," said Mitchell Plitnick, Co-Director of Jewish Voice for Peace. "That the Israeli invasion of Gaza caused innocent lives, as well as destroying farmland, and civilian infrastructure, cannot justify the outright murder of Israeli civilians. In the same way, the horrifying bombing cannot justify Israeli reprisals against Palestinian civilians. We are pleased that Israel has chosen not to impose a full closure on the West Bank, as they have done in the past. But we are still very concerned that the cycle of revenge and murder of innocents will continue. We call on the Israeli government to show restraint, and to begin fulfilling its obligation under international law to withdraw from the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. At the same time, we call on Palestinians everywhere to stand with us against all attacks on civilians, whatever their nationality.
"There is simply no way to end these horrors without ending the occupation and having Israel and a real, empowered Palestinian government work out the outstanding issues between the two peoples," Plitnick concluded.
Jewish Voice for Peace is a grassroots peace organization dedicated to achieving a lasting peace that recognizes the aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians for security and self determination. We work to promote a foreign policy based on peace, democracy, human rights and respect for international law. Contact us for background information on the silent majority of American Jews who support an end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.